Archmere Academy powered to a 19-0 first half lead, then held on to stun St. George's 19-13 Saturday night in the first round of the 2012 DIAA Division-Two football playoffs, in a game played at Caravel Academy.
This was truly a game of two halves, with the first 24 minutes totally dominated by Archmere, and the second half clearly controlled by the Hawks. Unfortunately for St. George's, the Auks half was just slightly better, and thus, the close victory.
"We felt we were prepared for this game, but they basically took us behind the shed there in the first half. We got together at halftime and made some adjustments, but by then it was too late," said St. George's coach J.D. Maull.
Archmere got on the scoreboard first in the first period when fullback Connor Speidel rumbled 22 yards up the middle at the 5:16 mark.
The more playoff-experienced Auks maintained their offensive pressure and drove 86 yards in 13 plays. The drived ended with Conor Furey grabbing a Brian Rogers 21-yard pass for a 13-0 lead at 6:45 of the second quarter. Archmere would add to its lead with 1:33 remaining in the half when Francis McVey dove one yard into the end zone to make the score 19-0.
Next, the game turned completely around in the second half, as the Hawks regained their offensive touch. St. George's began to run the ball successfully and the formula worked when Tymiere Griffin sprinted 37 yards to cut the lead to 19-7.
In the fourth, the Hawks moved even closer after Vaughn Simmons-Williams ran in from 14-yards away to bring his team to 19-13 with most of the forth quarter still to be played.
Several key plays enabled the Auks to preserve their slim lead. With 5:23 left in the game, Archmere punted and Eli Munda got to the ball in a hurry and downed it at the Hawks four yard line. "If that ball gets in the end zone, we start at the 20 and we might have been able to move the ball more successfully," said Maull. But the last-ditch drive would end on a fumble as Archmere's Ryan Beatson recovered at the 30, and the Auks were able to run out the clock.
"We knew we had to stop them. We knew they weren't a great throwing team, so we knew they would have to stick to their running game, and we managed to stop them," said a tired and happy Beatson.
St. George's ended their memorable season with a 10-1 record, with a very young squad and plenty of hope for the future.
Archmere, now 8-4, advances to the second round of the tournament and will play 10-1 Hodgson Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at Hodgson.